Sunday, September 30, 2012

Investing in a Palm Oil Plantation Business

is native to West Africa. Nigeria used to be the world's largest producer of oil palm before the oil boom era, but Malaysia has now taken the leading position. Oil palm plantation and allied industries is now the main stay of the Malaysian economy. The palm tree can be used in various ways: the leaves are used in making brooms and for roofing materials (in the rural areas). The bark of the fond can be peeled and woven into baskets, the main trunk can be split like sawn timbers and used as part of building materials, while palm wine can also be obtained from the palm tree, as well as red palm oil, which is readily obtainable from the fresh fruit bunches.

When the fruit is processed, however, the residue obtained can be used as fuel (for cooking and fertilizer to improve soil nutrient).

Red palm oil is used in cooking, making soap, candle and margarine. Palm kernel oil can be extracted from the nut, while the residue obtainable in the process of palm kernel oil extraction, otherwise called palm kernel cake, is used as livestock feed.

Palm kernel oil is used in vegetable oil and soap making, and the shells are useful as energy source. The uses to which oil palm can be made seem non-exhaustive. This clearly indicates that investment made in the establishment of oil palm plantation is nothing but a wise one.

The market is guaranteed for all the products of oil palm plantation in this era of global food crisis.

Technical Information

To establish palm oil plantation, involves getting a good site where rich, well-drained acidic soils are abundant. The soil should have adequate quantities of potassium, magnesium and nitrogen. Soil tests should therefore be carried out to determine the nutrient status of the land. It is usually better to use the early maturing variety called 'tenera,' which bears fruits as from the fourth year.

Other requirements include seedlings procurement, which can be obtained from reputable nurseries. Prospective investors must engage the services of agricultural experts in the course of establishing this project.

Other cultural practices are planting, regular weeding, pruning and fertilizer application.

Financial Aspect

We are recommending 50 hectares for a start. 20 hectares oil palm plantation can conveniently service a palm oil mill that will be established by the owner when the plantation starts to bring fruit. To establish 50 hectares of plantation, the sum of N10, 500,000 will be required and this is broken down as follows:

Pre-investments: N300, 000
Land acquisition: N4, 000,000
Land clearing/preparation: N3, 000,000
Seedlings procurement: 120/ha(2400 @ N500): N1, 200,000
Other cultural practices @N100, 000/ha: N2, 000,000
Total N10, 500,000

Income Analysis

A mature plantation will start to give an investor five tons of red palm oil annually from the fourth year per hectare. 100 metric tons of oil can be obtained annually from 20 hectares of plantation.

A ton of red palm oil is a minimum of N150, 000, while gross revenue of N15 million is obtained from red palm oil.

We can also get three metric tons of palm kernels per hectare, which gives us 60 tons from 20 hectares. This translates to annual income of N4.2 million. Total income realisable is about N19.2 million, while the annual operating expense is put at N5.8 million.

This leaves us with net income of N13.4 million annually for the investor for the rest of his/her life. Serious-minded investors can be assisted in realising this worthwhile investment.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Surviving the Amazon Effect

a term for the change to the competitive landscape caused by the growth of Jim Tompkins recently posted a podcast about this topic and how its changing the business climate. Essentially, Amazon has grown to become a competitor with nearly every company - from Walmart to Apple, Home Depot to Netflix. Jim predicts that because of Amazon's growth, and several other tipping points, a perfect storm of bankruptcies will sweep through an unprecedented number of companies by 2014. The podcast also spends considerable time speculating on what the brick-and-mortar Amazon store will look like - a move that has many large retailers anxious as Amazon continues to expand its business models.

With Amazon competing with everyone, how can a small business endure this new wave of competition and survive the Amazon Effect? Three survival options are (1) differentiate your services to what Amazon does not yet offer, (2) leverage your business's flexibility to innovate, or (3) join forces with Amazon and become a supplier. Above all, remaining focused on your customers will help weather any challenge.

Differentiate Your Services
"In real estate, it's location, location, location. In business, it's differentiate, differentiate, differentiate." - Robert Goizueta

Obviously, in order to avoid direct competition with Amazon, your business needs to provide a product or service that is different. Though this may seem simple, the great challenge lies in staying ahead of how quickly Amazon's portfolio is expanding. Having not yet opened a brick-and-mortar location, Amazon's business model still relies fully on the Internet. Web hosting, software, and eBooks delivered electronically, as well as their enormous SKU count of products ordered electronically, all rely on their website and customers interacting with their system. Although their system is easy to use, that model leaves an opportunity for differentiation.

Highlight your Company's Service
A key asset that a small business can offer is expertise and service to its customers. Although I sometimes spend hours comparing customer reviews and creating my own analysis of a product, I greatly value the honest expertise and guidance that small businesses provide. The more we become accustomed to working with computers, the more we feel refreshed with positive human interactions. Human relationship building is often absent from the Amazon experience. Therefore, customer service and human interaction can be a key to differentiating.

In addition, you may want to change how you approach your customers. Several years ago, IBM, seeing the trouble ahead for its business if it focused on hardware, switched its business model. Instead, it became an executive consulting company that helps implement its hardware and software. This value-added service satisfies a demand that a 1-Click purchase and a box full of hardware cannot.

Leverage Your Business's Flexibility to Innovate
"The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage." - Arie de Gues

Being a small business has an inherent strength of flexibility that most large companies wish they still had. Alignment is much easier when you can fit all your employees into one room and share your vision. More importantly, it is much easier to test and implement innovations because implementation on a smaller scale is more feasible. Once you grow as Amazon has, you cannot implement innovations as quickly and easily as a startup.

A friend of mine who recently completed a summer internship at Amazon highlighted one of its weaknesses. My friend had spent the summer working at a distribution center and proposing various process improvements. However, because of the company's size and emphasis on short-term ROI, he was not able to implement his ideas. To be fair, I do not know any of the details or merits of his suggestions. Nevertheless, my friend did not want to work for them after the internship because of this experience. It highlights not only the lack of flexibility in operations, but also inefficiencies such as paying an MBA intern for a summer with little in return.

Instead, being able to integrate quickly the latest innovations in supply chain - or any other department - will help you withstand the waves of Amazon's competitive presence.

Join Forces with Amazon and Become a Supplier
If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative. - Author Unknown

For many businesses, the strength of Amazon is a boon rather than a burden. From my dad who sells books on Amazon's marketplace to consumer goods manufacturers that work through Amazon as a retail channel, more people visiting the site means more potential customers. Recognizing that Amazon will be one of the main retail channels for the next few years can help you prepare your company to fit into its network.

How can you become a supplier to Amazon and other online retailers? Listing your products online is quite easy - most online sites pride themselves on large SKU counts, especially if you are the one holding the inventory. Success depends more on your ability to process orders seamlessly and drop-ship to customers. Quickly shipping to consumers will keep your supplier scorecards high and customer reviews favorable. Many 3PLs can handle these services for you, which is an excellent option if order volumes justify the expense.

Customer Focused Philosophy
The Amazon Effect is certainly a threat to many companies unprepared for the new competitive landscape. I agree with Jim Tompkins that many companies will eventual shut their doors because of the increased competition. However, Amazon's devotion to its customers, more than their operations or business model, is what has made it so powerful. Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of has said,
"Do not be competitor focused, be customer focused."

That then is the key to surviving the Amazon effect. Recognize the increased competition, but then work on every part of your supply chain and business to serve the customer better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Invest in Moringa Beverage Production

Moringa cultivation is gaining popularity in Nigeria in recent times. Ghana has benefited immensely from cultivation and utilisation of this crop. Many Nigerians are now establishing Moringa plantations, and also witnessing the positive effects of consuming Moringa products.

The health benefits of Moringa are limitless. It is a strong antioxidant effective against prostrate and skin cancers. It is an anti-tumour and an anti-aging substance. It modulates anemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, high serum or blood cholesterol, thyroid, liver and kidney problems. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties ameliorating rheumatism, joint pains, arthritis, edema and Lupus.

It is effective against digestive disorders including colitis, diarrhea, flatulence - gas, ulcer or gastritis.

Moringa is an anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral agent; it is effective against urinary tract infection, typhoid, syphilis, dental carries and toothaches, fungus, thrush, common cold, Epsetein-Barr virus, Herpes - simpex, HIV AIDS, warts parasites, worms, schistosomes and trypanosomes. It is a detoxifying agent, it is effective against snake and scorpion bites.

With all the health benefits listed above, a Moringa-based beverage produced in Nigeria, well packaged, well managed with aggressive marketing strategies will sell like hot cake. A Moringa-based beverage production factory is nothing but a goldmine that will definitely turn around the fortunes of the promoters. Nigeria being the largest market in the black world, any acceptable product will become goldmine for the business owners.

Technical information

Moringa plantations are springing up in Nigeria and it has been well established that Nigeria has the potential to grow millions of hectares of it; hence the raw materials supply can never pose any problem. Its leaves are plucked and soaked in hygienic water and heated up to get the Moringa extract. The extract is filtered and blended with natural sweeteners such as honey and glucose syrup.

The mixture can be flavoured with such flavours as strawberry, valina and ginger. Preservatives are added to increase the shelf live. Not only this, the product undergoes pasteurisation to eliminate pathogens and also to allow it to keep for a reasonable long time. A good packaging is a pre-requisite to market acceptability. Serious minded investors can be put through the technicality.

Financial implication

Monday, September 10, 2012

7 Best Business Ideas for 2012

Energy Efficiency Consultant

Cutting down the costs of energy bills is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners and businesses. However, reducing such bills is much more challenging than you may think. That's where energy efficient consultants can lend their expertise. If you have a background in utilities or construction, you'll be qualified to provide home or business owners with advice pertaining to insulation; smart meter installation; and water usage.


There are many people who have become obsessed with hoarding invaluable items. This obsession has given birth to the business of organizing. Since hoarders are unable to make resolute decisions, having an organizer will be a great asset. Although there isn't any rigid set of rules to qualify as an organizer, it is important that you possess organizing skills that will allow you to transform a space with junk into a clutter-free zone.


Many people are turning to the internet as a means of earning an income. The rise of online entrepreneurs has ushered in a new era of doing business. One of the best business ideas for 2012 has been in the area of copywriting. There is a vast array of website owners seeking to develop consistent content on their websites. Whether or not these website owners possess the skills to write such content, many prefer to place the work in the hands of professional copywriters. If you're well-versed in the areas of writing, English, or Journalism your services will be in constant demand.

Elder Assistant

Elder assistance has landed a spot on the best business ideas for 2012. Nursing qualifications are not required for this line of work. The elderly, in most cases, require minimal assistance around the house. If you pursue this course, you may find yourself grocery shopping; doing daily chores; and paying bills.

Vending Machine Business

The vending machine industry has caught onto the healthy trend. Foods such as soda and chips are no longer in par with the health-conscious lifestyle of many Americans. As a result, franchises such as Fresh Vending, has incorporated healthier choices into its vending machines. If you've mounted the health-conscious band wagon and you're seeking to get a message across to the masses of the importance of eating healthy, starting a vending machine business would be the ideal place to start.

Smartphone Repair

Smartphones are essential for both business and personal life. Oftentimes, you can find smartphone users seeking advice in forums to solve an issue with their mobile device. Your services will come in handy here. In some cases, fixing a smartphone can cost as much as buying one. However, smartphone repair is one of the best business ideas you can explore in 2012, since the demand is gradually rising.

Traveling Salon

Senior services will increase in accordance with people's lifespan. Besides health care, seniors may require beautician services. Instead of going to get such services, you'll travel in a mobile salon to their houses to perform hair, nails, or other beautician services.

Caroline Baxter Is a Serial Entrepreneur and Business Coach with over 15 years experience. The owner of multiple successful business enterprises, Caroline began her first business venture at the tender age of just 24, generating her first six-figure salary by the end of her first year.
Since then, Caroline has gone on to establish herself as a widely respected business coach, inspiring countless individuals to follow their passions, pursue their ambitions and get started in their own successful ventures.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Are You A Techno Dinosaur?

" Are you a techno dinosaur"? A what? I meet business owners face to face every day. While there are millions of people online, there are still business owners not using the internet to leverage their business. Millions are working with cloud computing, but the techno dinosaurs are doing business with their head in the cloud.

How to recognize a techno dinosaur?

They really don't use the computer as a tool to run the business. What, you're surprised, maybe you're not and you know someone like this. Let me paint a picture of a techno dinosaur. There is very little they can do over the web, never mind posting a picture to Facebook. Word, Microsoft Office just a not too familiar term. Techno dinosaurs are being hauled into the 21st century kicking and screaming. They can barely use spell check let alone operate the latest cell phone to access email. And email access, wow let's not go there!

Taking your business to the cloud!

I love showing a techno dinosaur how to operate technology savvy tools, scheduling, invoicing, and connecting to and creating an email list. There are so many ways a business can deliver, and capture value online successfully. One example is the recent invasion of bricks-and-clicks model, customers shop online and pick up their order at a local store. A brilliant use of the extending the function of the business model.

My favorite project to date was working with a client who had a product she was unable to make enough to keep up with the demand. Her desire was to teach others how to make the product. She created a DVD and hosted it for sale on her website. She really made a great production. She visually produced a tutorial to show others how to make the product. This was pre-YouTube mania and sold thousand of copies.

What I absolutely know is that the internet is here to stay, but the important thing is there's always room for improvement. No matter what your business model, I have learned and seen how businesses have leveraged the internet and technology to learn, grow and conduct business in creative ways. Maybe you're not up to date on all the techno savvy tools, and don't consider yourself a techno dinosaur.

The same rules apply to your business whether you are operating offline or online channels. Take a minute and review the systems and areas where you want your business to grow. Can you increase sales without overwhelming your distribution channels? Yes, everything can be controlled, solutions can be created to manage the business in many ways. Do you know a techno dinosaur? Give them my number, I'm a specialist at creating a step-by step map into the 21st century.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Are Vending Machines The Part Time Business You Have Been Looking For?

perhaps you've been hit hard by this economy and are searching for a new opportunity? Then consider getting into the vending business! Here's how you can turn the change that we all carry around with us every day into the sweet sound of success for you

Vending is a tried and true business that's been around for a very long time. In fact, the earliest known vending machine was invented in Ancient Greece back in 215 AD! It dispensed holy water by gravity when a coin was inserted into it. So we when we look at the vending business, we are talking about a well-established industry. But how does one get started in vending?

Well the first thing is to ask yourself if you have the free time necessary to build a route and to properly service your machines. Of course, if you are currently out of work due to the economy, the answer would be "yes". Then you need to decide what kind of vending machines you want to purchase. There are many different types. Candy, soda, snack, combo, ATM machines, coffee services, the list is long. Whatever way you go, your best bet will be to buy used equipment in good condition. Brand new machines look great. But they are very expensive and the markup is tremendous. You can pick up a "gently used" machine for less than half the price in many cases. Your budget will be the best determining factor here.

Then, what you need to decide is whether you are going to locate them yourself or would prefer to hire a professional locating company to do it for you. The reality is that most folks don't have the time, skill and patience required to locate good companies to place their machines in. Competition for prime spots can be fierce and many don't have the time required to make hundreds of phone calls or spend days walking down the boulevard talking to business people. That's where the expertise of a good and reputable locating company comes in. They can remove the headache of locating your machines on your own and free you up to devote yourself to other aspects of your business or to your fulltime job, if you have one currently.

So everything considered, the vending business can be a lucrative and rewarding business if you approach it the right way. And that would be with the right equipment in the right locations. Take some time to check it out on the Internet and you may just be listening soon to the sweet sound of success jingling in your pocket! All Vending Machine Locators Has Located All Types Of Vending Equipment For 19 Years.Thousands Of Machines successfully located for hundreds of vendor.Dozens of references available.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Renting a Virtual Office Space: What Good Can It Do for Your Business?

What good can it do for your business? Well, in these tough economic times when most businesses are looking to cut their operational costs in order to survive, the wisdom of using a virtual office becomes even more evident. By having a virtual office space, you can do away with renting an expensive office space, increase your productivity and spend less time on the road. Aren't these reasons enough for you to consider it?

Let's face it. Even while recent technological advances now allow people to start their own business from the comfort of their home provided they have an internet connection, having a virtual business address at a prestigious location can still work greatly in your favor. So, what are the benefits you stand to receive when you decide to rent a virtual office space? Here are some of them:

A virtual business office can help build your credibility. Having a bona fide business address at an exceptional business environment can help build your clients' trust and confidence in you and your business. Without it, you may have a hard time convincing them that you are running a legitimate business. Are you willing to put your credibility on the line just because you chose not to have your own virtual office? Think about it.

It offers a cost-effective solution to all your business needs. The beauty of renting a virtual office space is that you get to use the office facilities when you need it. You can use the meeting facilities to meet clients, get a prestigious business address to use for business correspondence and have your own virtual secretary to handle calls should you choose to - all for an affordable monthly fee.

It allows you to comply with the legal requirements in doing business. You will need a business address when applying for permits and when drawing contracts with clients. While your home address may prove to be sufficient in some cases, a legitimate business address will definitely give your business more credibility.

It can help reinforce your brand. What can an impressive and well-kept office do to your business? Well, a lot! It can help conjure an image of excellence, stability and commitment to quality. It can create a lasting positive impression that can help propel your business to the next level. Can anyone resist that?

It allows you operate instantly. The typical set-up time takes about one to two business days at the most so you can instantly be in operation the moment you decide to.

You can use the facility as long as it works for you. By choosing to rent a virtual office space, you are not obligated to sign a long-term lease. It basically works on a "land and expand" principle so you are free to go whenever you feel the need to move on.

Renting a virtual office space can be your ticket to running a more profitable business. Would you consider getting one?